Rev. Dr. Barbara Austin Lucas often invokes renowned sociologist Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot when she discusses the relationship educators must have with their charges. Lightfoot said, “You can’t educate anyone unless you can see your future in their eyes.”
This means there has to be some connection, some investment, some sense that your future’s success is tied inextricably to the success or failure of the person sitting before you. That is a powerful statement, but more importantly, it is a true statement. You can’t teach “at a distance”. You have to be in the trenches, with your sleeves rolled up, not standing on the sidelines pointing out every mistake or theorizing about what might work. You’ve got to be a problem solver in addition to being the problem finder.
Learned scholars and educational experts contend that a major reason for the lack of academic success of young people today is the failure of others to properly motivate them. Who motivates them to demand the latest (and most expensive) styles? Who motivates them to spend countless hours on video games and texting to girls and guys, but not even 5 minutes on studying or homework? Who motivates them to memorize and learn by rote, (an educational taboo according to the learned educational experts and scholars), the words of meaningless, often disrespectful hip hop or to get up at 5:30 in the morning to stand on line for a pair of basketball shoes that sell for $300 when they cannot find way to get to school on time for a class that starts at 8:30 in the morning?
So who motivates them in class? We expect students to be self motivated, but most need help.
Good teachers and coaches know you have to have trust your students and players. You have to believe they can do what you need done. If you trust them and believe in them, there is nothing they will not do for you. If you don’t trust them and believe in them, you won’t get anything from them at all. If you don’t, they will give you nothing. The New York City DOE and many of the other national reformers do not value, trust, respect or believe in either the teachers or the students who attend their classes.